Palestine

Asserting the Past

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Review of 'The Ethnic Cleansing of Palestine', Ilan Pappe, Oneworld Publications £16.99

When I was 17 I went to Israel and I planted a tree in the Jerusalem "forest". The tree wasn't indigenous and the forest was a recent human construction. I have a certificate from the Jewish National Fund (JNF) that states that I helped make Israel green.

The JNF failed to mention that the forest was the site of the Palestinian village of Ayn al-Zaytun, many of whose inhabitants were massacred by Jewish forces in May 1948. Without historians like Ilan Pappe the existence of this village would be confined to those who survived the expulsion.

Palestine: Boycott of Israel Gains New Support

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An international campaign for Boycott, Disinvestment and Sanctions (BDS) against Israel is growing rapidly.

Outrage at Israel's assault on Lebanon is certain to increase the pace of activity. In Britain university lecturers are spearheading the campaign. In June the national conference of the Natfhe lecturers' union agreed to encourage all members to consider their relations with Israeli universities. There was overwhelming support for a resolution which called for lecturers to break links with universities known to be involved.

Palestine: Beyond a Religious Argument

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The victory of the Islamist organisation Hamas in the Palestinian parliamentary elections in January has been greeted with varying degrees of hysteria by Western governments and media.

The US administration has led the charge, threatening to cut off aid to the Palestinian Authority (which Hamas now runs). The hypocrisy of the US government is plain - promoting democracy but refusing to respect the Palestinians' democratic choice. But even on the left there has been unease at Hamas's victory. Does this represent the "Talibanisation" of Palestinian politics? The voices of Palestinian voters, and the history of Hamas itself suggest otherwise.

Palestine: A Mandate Without Power

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The first Palestinian election since 1996 has been greeted with a great international fanfare of publicity and a groundswell of expectations that it will usher in a new era of peace and stability, the attack on the Israeli checkpoint of Karni notwithstanding.

Both Bush and Sharon expressed satisfaction that 'their man', Mahmood Abbas (Abu Mazen), had been elected president following the death of Yasser Arafat. Most pundits and politicians seem united in the fond belief that Abbas has been given a mandate, first to eliminate corruption within the Palestinian Authority, and second to rein in the Palestinian resistance and deliver the Palestinian people's consent to a deal with Israel. All claim that this 'pragmatic' politician, who has called for the demilitarisation of the intifada, will be better able to negotiate peace than his predecessor.

Palestine: Goes with the Territory

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Palestinian activists speak to Anne Ashford about their strategies to end the current occupation.

The Palestinian movement today faces a paradox. The Palestinian cause has more support than ever, thanks to the growth of the anti-war and anti-capitalist movements, but conditions inside Palestine are more difficult than they have been for years. At the European Social Forum thousands of activists heard testimony from campaigners inside the Occupied Territories, such as Mustafa Barghouti from Ramallah who has played a leading role in mobilising international protests against Israel's apartheid-style wall around the West Bank.

Israel and Palestine: Questions of Leadership

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Two events in the last week of October threw the contradictory relationship between the Palestinian and Israeli leaderships into sharp relief.

On 26 October the Israeli parliament, the Knesset, voted in favour of Ariel Sharon's plan for unilateral disengagement from the Gaza Strip. A day later doctors advised Yasser Arafat to leave the government buildings in Ramallah where he has been besieged by Israeli forces for the past two years. His departure for urgent medical treatment prompted speculation over a struggle to succeed him among the Palestinian leadership.

'Sparks of Hope in the Past'

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John Rose, author of a new book on Israel, spoke to Simon Assaf about the roots of Zionism and the Palestinian struggle today.

Your book The Myths of Zionism charges that the ideology behind Israel is based on a whole series of myths, going all the way back to ancient Israel. Can you tell me what those myths are?

In the book each chapter heading is based on a myth. The first two myths are based on ancient Jewish history, the next two myths are based on medieval Jewish history, and the last six myths are based on the modern period starting roughly in the 19th century.

Palestine: Beyond a Boundary

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Up to 7,600 Palestinian political prisoners in four different prisons have begun an open-ended hunger strike in protest against the appalling conditions of their detention.

Among their demands are: an end to collective punishments such as indiscriminate beatings; improved visiting rights and the easing of restrictions on communication with lawyers; and the improvement of health facilities. The Israeli authorities have begun lighting barbecues outside the prison walls to torment the prisoners. 'The prisoners can... starve to death...' said Hanegbi, Israeli public security minister, rejecting their demands.

Collective Punishment: The Opium of the Occupier

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It was confirmed recently that US military commanders travelled to Israel In January this year to learn about urban warfare from the Israeli Defence Force (IDF).

A US general confirmed the visit had taken place in the US forces magazine Army. Discussing the visit with Reuters, Harvey Perritt, a spokesman for US training and command, said, 'There is a fair amount of military intellectual discussion that goes on between the US army and the IDF.'

Israel: Yet More Road Blocks on the Road to Peace

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On a recent visit to Israel I learnt a lot about the movements of solidarity by many Israelis for the Palestinian struggle against the Israeli occupation of the West Bank.

There are around 24 of these organisations, dedicated to ending the occupation. I went on one of these activities, called 'Checkpoint Watch (Women for Human Rights)', which brings together 400 Israeli women who, each morning and evening, monitor human rights abuses at Israeli military and border-police checkpoints.

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